WMATA Survey: Living, Working Near Stations Increases Transit Use

WASHINGTON – A new Metro ridership survey finds the closer people are to a rail station the more likely they are to use it.

The Transit Authority surveyed 1,950 people who lived, worked or visited other businesses within a half-mile of 13 rail stations. The survey included 49 office, residential, retail, hotel and movie theater sites. The results suggest people are more likely to use transit in areas where they can live, work and shop close to a rail station. This was especially true for mid day trips to and from work places.

The survey results also indicate that even if people live a half mile from a rail station, 31 percent would use Metrorail and the majority would walk or bike to the station. If they lived next to the station, 54 percent of those surveyed would use it compared with 35 percent who work next to a station.

“In those parts of the region where there’s quality access to transit, the percentage of people using transit looks to be increasing,” said Nat Bottigheimer, Metro’s planning director.

A similar survey was done 16 years ago. Back then, nearly 18 percent of those surveyed at ten offices located near stations used transit to get to work compared with 34 percent last year at 17 offices. Transit use of people living near stations has changed little since 1989 with about 45 percent of those surveyed using trains.

The survey also shows that subway use is more competitive with cars now than in 1989 in the areas where there is good access to rail service. Planners also noted about one-third of those surveyed living within a half mile of a station outside the Capital Beltway said they used Metrorail.

The ridership survey can be found on Metro’s Web site at http://www.wmata.com/bus2bus/jd/jointdev.cfm.